Corpus Christi

May 5, 2009


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Single leaf from a gradual:

Historiated initial E with Jesus seated at one end of a long table and the Apostles gathered before him, Corpus Christi

Italy — Perugia, 1300-1350

Script: Late Gothic/Renaissance; Rotunda script

Parchment with ink, paint, gold, and silver

Notation: Square


This historiated initial E begins the Introit for Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi, “Ego sum panis …;” reverse (true recto) contains the Gradual for the first Sunday after Pentecost.  Ego sum panis, translated as “I am bread,” is exceptional in its use for communion: the vast majority of liturgical manuscripts from the middle ages use the alternative wording of  “Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia,” (Full ears of wheat are the nourishment he gives them).

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 72:12